I remember having a discussion with a lady who bore great animus towards a friend of mine. And–it was clear from the vitriolic nature of her comments about my friend that she believed her bitterness was fully justified. I’ll never forget our conversation because God used it to teach me a valuable lesson. Hurt which we allow to evolve into bitterness–hurts us. We place ourselves in the same place as the person who wronged us—in need of forgiveness.

It doesn’t matter how deeply someone else wounds us; we are still accountable to God for our reaction. We react wrongly because we believe ourselves innocent; thus, justifying our unforgiving heart. We forget that we are only innocent because God has forgiven our innumerable trespasses against Him; therefore, we should not trample upon His gift by committing the evil of unforgiveness against those who have trespassed against us. Jesus explains the command to forgive in Matthew 18:21-35. We are the great debtors and our fellow man is less indebted to us than we are to God–thus, we should gratefully forgive each other.

It is essential for our heart.

The purpose of forgiveness isn’t to change the wrongdoer, it is to change us! Closeness to Almighty God transforms us. An unforgiving heart can’t be close to God because our refusal to forgive is a trespass against His love. God is righteous and if we want to be close to Him we must love Him enough to obey Him. Sadly, this lady passed away without ever resolving her bitterness. I’m sure if she could speak to us now, she’d tell us that prison was not worth living in–for even one day. When Jesus forgives us, He gives us the freedom to forgive each other. His Word says: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) How sweet is our life when it is lived in an abundance of forgiveness!

From the book, “Essential Faith” Volume 2 available on Amazon by clicking HERE .

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